So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Homer AK in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Homer AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Homer AK or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Homer AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Homer AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Homer AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Homer AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Homer AK healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Homer AK in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Homer AK residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Homer AK colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homer AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Homer X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Homer Alaska.